TEARING DOWN WALLS
Scripture: Read Ephesians 2:11-18
For individuals as technologically advanced as we are, we certainly havenít learned much morally. Heart transplants are common these days, but hearts of compassion are growing increasingly rare. Instead of tearing down wall that divide and separate us, we have been building stronger walls.
Do we think walls will help us? We must because we spend a great deal of time and effort building them. Robert Frost wrote a poem entitled "Mending Walls." The poem is about the spring ritual of mending stone fences in New England. The poem describes how two neighboring farmers meet to gather stones which have fallen off the walls during the winter and put them back in their place. This tradition has no significance, since there are pine trees on one farmerís land and apple trees on the other. But, they have done this for years and it is tradition. In the poem we see two forces at work. One is the force to break down walls.
Something there is that doesnít love a wall,
That wants it down.
Something has knocked the stones off the wall. There is something that wants wants it down.
This is the first force.
But there is another attitude that opposes it. The poem goes on with one farmer talking to the other.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."
This is the farmers reasoning. But is this reasoning true? Do "Good fences make good neighbors?" We certainly must believe this, because we spend a great deal of time and effort building and repairing fences.
What are the walls you have erected between you and "them?" What walls of prejudice separate you from others? If so, how can they be torn down?
Alienation is the natural result of sin (Eph. 2:11-12).
The hostility between Jews and Gentiles is a well documented fact. To the Jews there were only two classes of people Ė Jews and Gentiles. To be a Jew was to be one of Godís chosen people. To be a Gentile was to be a heathen dog Ė worth nothing. The Jews looked with contempt and disdain on all Gentiles. It must also be noted that the Gentile were not all warm and fuzzy for the Jews either. Both hated the other.
The Apostle Paul calls this to mind when he says that the Gentiles in the flesh were called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision." You recall that circumcision was the sign and seal of the covenant God made with Israel. Calling them "Uncircumcised" was another way of saying that they were inferior and in the minds of many, gave them the right to hate the Gentiles.
And they could justify this hatred. The Apostle Paul reminds the Gentile Believers that they were in a hopeless condition. He says,
That you were at that time separate from Christ
Excluded from the commonwealth of Israel
Without citizenship in Godís Kingdom
Having no hope and without God in the world.
So a dividing wall of hostility had been erected. The Apostle Paul speaks of this barrier of the dividing wall in v. 14. This wall of dividing extended to many areas of Jewish life. This wall of division represented the hostility between Jews and Gentiles.
Robert Frost says in his poem, "Something there is that doesnít love a wall, that wants it down." Actually, the "something" is "Someone" Ė and that "Someone" is Christ.
Read Epehsians 2:13-18.
Only through Christ can wall of prejudice, wall of division, walls of hatred be torn down. Through Christ those who were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Now both Jew and Gentile can come near, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace. Our text shows us that He Himself is our peace and through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
In Christ all barriers have been torn down in Christ.
What barriers separate you from other believers? Barriers and separation indicate that you might not have found a living relationship with Christ who is your peace.
Robert Frost states in his poem,
Before I built a wall Iíd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out.
Christ has come to make us one.
Donít let Pride, feelings of inferiority, or pressure prevent you from tearing down the walls that separate.
May God richly bless and keep you in His will.